DETROIT -- Lions wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has a broken left leg and also tweaked an ankle, a source confirmed to ESPN, after suffering the injury early in the first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday night.
The injury happened as Kearse was blocking on a running play for Ty Johnson on the first drive of the game. Doctors immediately came out to tend to Kearse, who had his leg immobilized in an air cast and then was carted off the field.
The 29-year-old Kearse signed with the Lions in June to provide veteran depth and a familiar face in new coordinator Darrell Bevell's offense. He had been heavily involved in Bevell's offense in Seattle for the first five seasons of his career before getting traded to the New York Jets just prior to the start of the 2017 season.
Kearse spent two years in New York, setting career highs with 65 catches and 810 yards in 2017 before having a down year last season, catching 37 passes for 371 yards. He came to Detroit seeking a career rejuvenation. He started to separate himself for the No. 4 receiver role in the Lions' offense over the final week of training camp.
Kearse has 255 catches in his career for 3,291 yards and 17 touchdowns.
With Kearse's injury, the Lions lose valuable depth at receiver in a crowded but inexperienced corps behind Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola. Kearse started the game with Andy Jones and was replaced by Chris Lacy. Both Andy Jones and Lacy have been competing with Kearse for backup spots.
The severity of the injury was first reported by NFL Network.
ESPN's Adam Schefter contributed to this report.